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Why is a big shift in how we exercise changing gyms across the country?

Say goodbye to treadmills and hello to dumbbells.

HOUSTON — For the past few decades, gyms have looked the same.

It's always been long rows of treadmills and elliptical machines, with the free weights and squat racks tucked into a corner. Except, according to CNN Business, that's starting to change.

Thanks to recent research touting the health benefits, strength training is surging in popularity. The trend is also driven by the rise in high-intensity workouts like CrossFit and women starting to ignore the stereotype that only men should lift weights.

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All these factors meant as the pandemic came to an end people, rushed back to gyms looking for dumbbells. While Peloton may have benefitted from people being trapped in their homes by COVID-19, gyms appear to be benefiting from people rushing to use strength training equipment they didn’t have access to at home.

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A trade association for the fitness industry says in 2021, the number of gym memberships in the U.S. rose 3.6% above pre-pandemic levels. This shift in focus to weightlifting is changing layouts at gyms.

According to CNN Business, Planet Fitness is reducing space for cardio training on equipment like treadmills to increase the space for what’s called functional training. Think of things like push-ups, squats and kettlebells.

According to the experts, many gyms are ditching rows and rows of equipment to create more free space for these functional exercises.

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